Rocky Mountain News jumps the gun on shared-helicopter story

Less than an hour ago at this writing, the Rocky Mountain News website published "7News, 9News Sharing Helicopter," an uncredited item about a decision by these two longtime rivals to use a single helicopter in order to save money during these economically agonizing times. But while the story will probably hit close to the mark in the very near future, it's not accurate yet.

What happened? On December 30, Channel 7 sent out a press release about this agreement, which was supposed to go into effect on January 1. Very shortly thereafter, the station sent out a second e-mail recalling the first. Then, a full six days later, the Rocky launched the aforementioned story, which quotes directly from canned comments attributed to 7News general manager Byron Grandy and Mark Cornetta, his 9News counterpart, without mentioning that the remarks were culled from a prepared statement rather than separate interviews.

Channel 7's Grandy, speaking moments ago, sets the record straight. "The fact is, the press release was sent out prematurely," he says. "There is no finalized deal." As such, "no deal started on January 1." However, he goes on, "we are working toward a deal that we hope to get done very soon."

All of that makes perfect sense. Harder to figure out is why the Rocky essentially published a press release almost a week after it had been recalled without updating any of the information in it. -- Michael Roberts

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